Friday, September 23, 2011

INVINCIBLE EAST: ONLY ME IN 10,000 YEARS (ตงฟางปู๋ป้าย...หมื่นปีมีข้าคนเดียว) (2011, Apirak Chaipanha, A+)

--Though I can't say the whole of this play touches me deeply, I still give A+ to this play because I like some moments near the end of this play very much. My favorite moments start from the moment when Pu (Athapol Anunthavorasakul) talks to Aom (Saowanee Wongjinda) about the real reason why he stages his play INVINCIBLE EAST.

The acting of Athapol in that moment is superb. I felt as if there is an aura of seriousness, or of something deeply felt, or some deep feelings, coming out of his body. Suddenly his character turns into a real human being in my point of view.

Starting from that moment, the play seems to shift its tone. I feel as if the early part of the play is just a comedic, moderately entertaining thing. The early part of the play is full of "moderately interesting characters" in my opinion. They seem to be the kind of characters you can easily find in any averagely good plays/TV series/films.

But in the latter part of the play, I feel as if the characters veer towards real human beings. I started to care for these characters. The characters seem to have real flesh and blood, real feelings and emotions in the latter part. The tone of the play becomes dramatic and serious. I like this tone very much.

What I like the most in this play is some uncomfortable, awkward moments between characters near the end. It's when these characters open their hearts and say some ugly truths. These moments thrill me a lot. And it reminds me of some great moments in SECRETS AND LIES (1995, Mike Leigh).

--Another thing that I like very much is that Pu, which I think is the protagonist of the play, is an unlikeable character. I mean it is safer to make a play or a film in which the main character is "likeable", or the main character with whom the audience can easily identify. But Pu is very unlikeable in my point of view. And having an unlikeable character as the protagonist will surely disturb some audience. But I think it is a little bit bold for the play to present an unlikeable protagonist like this.

I think Pu is unlikeable because what he does is very bad. I mean if he is a good guy, he should have told his girlfriend straightforwardly that he is gay whenever he learns this truth about himself. He shouldn't have tried to tell his girlfriend indirectly like this. But though Pu is not a good guy, he is still a human being. And I like a play or a film which shows us the flaws of human beings like this.

One thing that I think is very funny in the play is the moment when Pu tells his girlfriend that he "has become the Invincible East". This character can't even say that he "is gay". He dares not pronounce the word "gay", and chooses to use the word "the Invincible East" instead. This character is really a deeply flawed human being.

--I also like the self-reflexiveness of this play. This is a play-within-a-play, and some parts of the play make me wonder if they are inspired by some real things happening in the Thai theatre circle or not.

In conclusion:

1.I give A+++++ to 10% of this play. It's the awkward, uncomfortable moments between the characters when some truths are revealed. I think these moments are as powerful as SECRETS AND LIES.

2.I give A+ to 20% of this play. It's the romantic relationship between Bomb (Watcharayut Suradet) and Aom. This subplot really satisfies my sexual fantasy. I think it is as sexually satisfying as some subplots in some French miniseries, such as THE SOB OF THE ANGELS (2008, Jacques Otmezguine) and 3 WOMEN...ONE SUMMER NIGHT (2005, Sébastien Grall). These miniseries have some handsome young men falling in love with some middle-aged female characters. It is the kind of fantasy that I like very much.

However, though the subplot of Bomb and Aom satisfies my sexual fantasy, it does not touch me deeply, and it is not totally convincing. Maybe it is just because it is the subplot, not the main plot.

If possible, I hope someone makes the sequel of INVINCIBLE EAST: ONLY ME IN 10,000 YEARS by focusing on the romantic relationship between Bomb and Aom. And I wish this imaginary play not only satisfies my sexual fantasy, but also turns out to be as convincing, powerful, and heartbreaking as COFFEE LOVE (2009, Sakchai Kiatpunyaopas), which concerns the love of a fat woman and a handsome man, or as the films LE PETIT AMOUR (1988, Agnès Varda) and MOURIR D'AIMER (2009, Josée Dayan), each of which presents the romantic relationship between a 15-year-old boy and a 40-year-old woman.

3.I give A- to 70% of this play, which I think is moderately entertaining.

--Another thing that I think is interesting in this play is that the whole story of the play seems to take place in a very short period of time (if I remember it correctly). Though the story happens in a short period of time, it still makes us understand some important things in the lives of the characters, such as the ten-year relationship between Pu and Mik, Mik's fear of being a spinster, and the trauma of Aom.

This time-constraint technique reminds me of what Fred Kelemen said. If I remember it correctly, he said something like, "If you want to present the whole life of a character or the whole war, you don't have to show the audience many stages in the life of that character or the war, you can show only one day in the life of that character or one day in that war. That one day can contain the essence of the whole life of that character. The audience may see only "one day" in the life of that character, but the audience will understand the whole life of that character."

Because I like this time-constraint technique very much, I decided to make the list below:

My favorite films/plays of which the stories, or most of the stories, concern only a short period of time

(in alphabetical order)

1.BEFORE SUNRISE (1995, Richard Linklater)

2.CLÉO FROM 5 TO 7 (1961, Agnès Varda)


4.FATE (1994, Fred Kelemen)


6.LOVE, NOT YET: TO BE A MUM, TO BE A WIFE (2011, Anuchit Mualprom)

7.A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (ไม่เป็นเรื่อง) (2006, Patruja Kanjanakosol, play)

8.MY NIGHT AT MAUD'S (1969, Eric Rohmer)

9.NEVER LET ME GO (2011, Ninart Boonpothong, play)

10.NIGHTFALL (1999, Fred Kelemen)

11.ZOETROPE (2011, Rouzbeh Rashidi)

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